Five ways you can support small businesses in 2021

Five ways you can support small businesses in 2021

If someone asked you whether you support small businesses, you’d probably be in the minority if you said no. A lot of us are more than happy to support our local high streets, buy from creative business owners and boost our local economy, but how often do you actually shop small? We’re all tempted to buy from big brands, they dominate our news feeds and shout at us from bus stop adverts and make it as easy as possible to spend as much as possible. For small businesses, that huge reach isn’t quite as achievable, but our products are equally amazing, so here are a few ways you can help us to stay open for business in 2021.

support small businesses

Share their story

If you’ve got a small business or your friend or family does, there are so many ways you can share an awesome brand with the world, but you’re going to need some help! One great way to support small businesses is by sharing their story. It could be an Instagram post or a product you love or a photo of you using their item. Sharing their content is a surefire way to attract attention and increase engagement. You could even tag friends who might be interested. You never know what wonderful things might happen and it’s free! Also, we’ll really appreciate it and you’re going to look super cool and ethical.May be an image of jewellery

Look for locals

I’ve heard people say that it’s hard to find cool independent companies, or that it’s easier to shop online with big brands but that just isn’t true. With secure payment methods, prompt shipping and even local delivery, there are basically no reasons why you can’t shop local. One top tip to support small businesses is to add your location to a google search. Instead of searching for handmade jewellery, look for handmade jewellery Liverpool, and you should hopefully find us! This is the case for beauticians, printers, bakers, flooring installers, whatever product or service you need, try a local search first. You can also look for shop local groups on social media platforms like the brilliant shop local Liverpool group.

Write a review

Yes, the internet is full of reviews, but honestly they make so much difference to small business owners. Even if it’s your local sweet shop, by taking the time and effort to review the product or service you’ve received you’re boosting their online reputation and recommending them to others. You can review small businesses on their social media platforms in no time. You can also do it through an online directory like Tripadvisor, Yell or Google My Business. It’ll take no more than five minutes and it will 100% make someone’s day.

Make small switches

It’s been an incredibly tough year for everyone, but even if finances are tight at home there are still swaps you can make to support small businesses. Before you order a takeout from that famous pizza company with a multi-million marketing campaign, check out your local options first. If you’re buying flowers for your mum, get them from a florist rather than the supermarket. Wear awesome t-shirts that have been printed in the UK. Buy a handmade mask from a sustainable company. Get a local artist to design your wedding invites. Buy croissants from a local bakery. You’ll be surprised how affordable it is to shop small. Us small business owners know we need to be accessible for everyone, so we’ll price our products fairly.

Commission a piece

support small businessesI know you’re not a millionaire (if you are – buy some jewellery), but commissioning a piece from an artist, maker or business is way cheaper and easier than you think. If you’ve got a special occasion coming up, we can make you a one of a kind, personal gift. You can commission something that you can’t find anywhere else. From acrylic pet portraits to special memory books to epic balloon displays, there are hundreds of local businesses just waiting to create a one of a kind piece for you. Just send them a message and ask for a quote or tell them what your budget is. We love chatting with you, discussing ideas and creating a bespoke item you can treasure.

 

Your support for small businesses is essential in 2021. You’re the reason we can carry on and continue creating, designing and innovating. Thankyou xx

 

 

5 Tips to Start Sewing

We are so excited to share this sewing tips blog with you! If you’ve been thinking about sewing, now is the perfect time to start! Thankfully, the wonderful Stephanie Yvonne from https://www.stephanieyvonneart.com/ is a sewing genius! She has kindly shared her top sewing tips for beginners with us. Steph is an incredible artist, sewer and friend, with loads of creative skills. Have a read and check out her beautiful products here.

Fabric

First things first – you can’t sew something without any fabric! But no need to worry over the thought of spending pounds and pounds on fabric, it can be sourced very cheaply and sometimes even for free!

Sewing may be something that you are looking into or it might be something that you have picked up and put down over the years. If you are just starting out, then you won’t want to be spending a ton on fabric only to find it’s not for you! This is where Charity shops and old clothes are our friends. The range of fabrics you can find at a Charity shop is amazing! Don’t be put off by the fact that the fabric has already been turned into a garment – unpick that thing and up-cycle!

Old clothes that might be waiting in a bag to be taken to a Charity shop are also a great source of fabric and definitely don’t worry about any holes. Chances are, you love the fabric that these clothes are made from so why not turn them into something new that you can carry on loving!

If you are looking for a specialist fabric shop, then I would personally recommend Fabric Land (https://fabricland.co.uk) and Dalston Mill Fabrics (https://dalstonmillfabrics.co.uk). They both have an amazing range of fabric types, are extremely friendly and ordering online could not be more easy (a life-saver through lockdown!!)

Choosing what to sew for beginners

When I started to sew, could I think of anything to make? Nope! And you might be in the same boat! This is where websites like Google and Pinterest are SO handy – if you were to Google “sewing projects for beginners” you would get 214,000,000 results!!! We should all be very grateful to those people who have taken their time to provide us with numerous ideas of what we can sew.

Set of 4 Chinese style place-mats and coastersI LOVE Pinterest and use it for many things including finding sewing ideas. The first idea I found and used were these reversible placemats and coasters – they are simply made from rectangles and squares, yet I could still add my own flare to them! I now sell a variety of designs and sizes: 

https://www.stephanieyvonneart.com/shop/place-mats-and-coasters/2

Have the right sewing tools for your project

Another thing that you might be worried about costing a bomb, is the tools you need to be able to sew. But again, these do not need to cost a fortune! If you have a needle and thread, then you can definitely start sewing. Sew Guide has a great page (https://sewguide.com/easy-hand-stitches/) that clearly explains the different types of stitches for hand sewing. Practising the basic back and running stitch on some spare fabric will help you to gauge how these work and get your stitches nice and even. Hand sewing is great as the stitches are a lot easier to unpick than the stitches a sewing machine makes! So, if you do make a mistake, gently pull out the stitches and start again – no harm done. Set of 6 jungle themed place-mats

Pins are a staple when it comes to sewing – we need some way to keep our fabric together whilst we are stitching! I tend to use dressmaker pins as these are slightly thinner than other pins and create very small holes in fabric which can easily be brushed out. A pot of pins generally costs less than £5 – an important tool for not a lot of money!

If you are looking to buy a sewing machine, then there are a lot of options out there and quite a large price range. When I was looking for my first sewing machine, I had a tight budget but still needed something that would do everything I wanted. In the end I settled on the Brother LS14s Manual Stitch Sewing Machine which cost £80. Brother is a great brand, very reliable and fairly priced so ticks all the boxes!

When it doesn’t come out as planned!

There will be a chance, as there always is when we try something new, that our first or even second attempt does not come out as planned! However, do not let this get you down or make you think that sewing is not for you. Mistakes will always happen – I have spent many an hour unpicking stitches because I was not paying attention to what I was sewing…

If we were perfect at everything, then we would not learn anything. Making mistakes, unpicking, recutting, restitching, a failed idea, a clash of fabrics are all part of the learning process which will help us get better at sewing.

Never worry if something doesn’t come out as planned, it is all part of the process – learn from it and try again.

Enjoy the process!

My final sewing tip, and perhaps the most important one, is to enjoy yourself!

Flamingo tote bagCreative outlets are so important in life, they give us a chance to think outside of the box and the rigid routine we often have in life. I love to sew; I find it so relaxing and it is also great for my mental health as I can start with a piece of fabric and see it through to a completed item.

Sewing was always a hobby for me, something outside of my work life. However, I have now turned it into a small business which I hope to grow in the coming years which I am very excited about! HOWEVER, it is very important that I continue to enjoy sewing and that it does not become a chore. A creative outlet should be just that, something that you get joy from and a release from the frustrations and worries that we may be facing.

I hope these 5 sewing tips have been useful for those of you who might be looking to get into sewing or have been sewing for years and need a bit of a boost!

Whatever you sew and however you sew it, enjoy and have fun

Stephanie Yvonne

https://www.stephanieyvonneart.com/

6 Ways to Live Creatively

Creativity is vital to our humanity and living creatively can be a wonderful way to experience the world. If you think your inner artist is being neglected, then these creative living ideas should help you develop and nourish your creativity. Being creative has an incredibly helpful impact on mental health, and is used often to help patients with trauma.

Be kind to yourself and live creatively.

Write Every Day

Writing is one of the best ways we can express ourselves, but when was the last time you wrote because you wanted to? I don’t mean an email newsletter for your business, a grocery list or an essay for school. This is about writing for you. There are hundreds of creative writing tips out there you can study, but it’s worthless until you put pen to paper, or fingertips to keys. Whether it’s poems, haikus, journaling or writing a novel, start writing every day now. 

Now, a little secret – I’ve recently become a mum. My baby is called Nina and she is our world. When I found out I was pregnant I started to write to her. I wrote a little iPhone note when I got the positive results. I even wrote a letter when I was about to be induced. Yep. I’ve carried on. I’ve written to her about coronavirus and lockdown and her cleft palate.

If you have a daughter or a niece or a baby on the way, try write to them. You can even write to my baby if you like, just contact us.

Relentlessly Self Improve

When I googled relentless self-improvement, I wasn’t impressed with what I found. However, I love this idea. I love the idea that you can always be better. It doesn’t mean aiming for perfection or setting unrealistic goals. It’s about trying new things, growing as a person and becoming an even better you.

Take a Photo You Are Proud Of

In a world of instant photography, sometimes it seems like social media has sucked the creativity out of photography. However, it is still very much an art form. Finding the right angle, subject and lighting can be incredibly challenging. That’s why it’s still a career. You can also use photography to live creatively, and record the good things that happen to you and how you feel about them. Try to challenge yourself to take one photo you are proud of every day or week. Start an instagram or a tumblr and craft those beautiful images.

Play an Instrument

There is something beautiful about making music. It might be something you loved doing when you were young but you haven’t played in years. Music and creativity are inseparable , so create. If you’re not a musician, it’s the perfect time to start. Buy yourself a cheap guitar, or a harmonica, or a tambourine, or a kazoo. Live creatively with music. Find a new band or artist you love on Spotify or youtube. The feeling after you play a song right for the first time is remarkable.

Cook Something New

Cooking is so creative. Using different flavours, colours, textures, ingredients and recipes is like creating a piece of art. Even if you aren’t a fan of cooking, you can challenge yourself creatively by cooking something new. Bake something delicious – even cupcakes! It only has to be once a week, just make sure it’s something you’ve never cooked or maybe even eaten before. Buy that weird vegetable, and dare to cook that favourite dish of yours from that place. It’s really good for you to live creatively too!

Dress Differently

Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw away your wardrobe! Shop sustainably too. Our clothes say so much about us, and dressing creatively is a lot of fun. If you have a sensible job, dress like a goth one Saturday. If you are already a goth, try and dress like a backing dancer. This isn’t about changing who you are, it’s about using your creativity to create a persona that you can try on for a day. If you hate it, never wear the outfit again. If you love it, try something else new too.

Find Words That Inspire You

Words are such an incredible source of creativity. A great way to start your days right and live creatively is to write or read words that inspire you. Whether you want to hang a beautiful quote next to your bathroom mirror or you like to read poetry before you go to bed. Keep learning, and filling yourself with knowledge and inspiration. Creativity will surely ensue.

Good luck with living creatively, we’d love to hear your stories!